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January 17, 1996

Measles Elimination in the Americas: Evolving Strategies

Author Affiliations

From the Special Program for Vaccines and Immunization (Drs de Quadros and Hersh) and the Offices of the Deputy Director (Dr Brandling-Bennett) and Director (Dr Alleyne), Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC; Global Program for Vaccines, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland (Dr Olivé); Los Angeles County Health Department, Los Angeles, Calif (Dr Strassburg), Los Angeles, Calif and Department of International Health and Epidemiology, The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Md (Dr Henderson). Dr Olivé was formerly with the Expanded Program on Immunization, Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 1996;275(3):224-229. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530270064033

The strategy currently used to control measles in most countries has been to immunize each successive birth cohort through the routine health services delivery system. While measles vaccine coverage has increased markedly, significant measles outbreaks have continued to recur. During the past 5 years, experience in the Americas suggests that measles transmission has been interrupted in a number of countries (Cuba, Chile, and countries in the English-speaking Caribbean and successfully controlled in all remaining countries. Since 1991 these countries have implemented one-time "catch-up" vaccination campaigns (conducted during a short period, usually 1 week to 1 month, and targeting all children 9 months through 14 years of age, regardless of previous vaccination status or measles disease history). These campaigns have been followed by improvements in routine vaccination services and in surveillance systems, so that the progress of the measles elimination efforts can be sustained and monitored. Follow-up mass vaccination campaigns for children younger than 5 years are planned to take place every 3 to 5 years.

(JAMA. 1996;275:224-229)